April 18, 2013

Mechanical engineers at the University of California, San Diego say that they have invented a robot "SkySweeper" that can scoot along utility lines, searching for damage and problems needing repairs.

This robot was designed by Nick Morozovsky, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, in the Coordinated Robotics Lab led by mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Tom Bewley.

According to the engineers, the SkySweeper prototype, made of off-the-shelf electronics and plastic parts printed on an inexpensive 3D printer, could be scaled up for less than $1,000, making it significantly more economical than robots currently used to inspect power lines.

"Current line inspection robots are large, complex, and expensive. Utility companies may also use manned or unmanned helicopters equipped with infrared imaging to inspect lines," said Nick Morozovsky. "This is much simpler."

SkySweeper is V-shaped with a motor-driven "elbow" in the middle. The clamps on the ends of its arm can open and close as necessary to move it down the line, inch by inch.

SkySweeper could be equipped with induction coils that would take energy from the power line itself, making it possible for the robot to stay deployed for weeks or months at a time.

Morozovsky is strengthening the clamps so they can release from the rope and swing down the line, one end to the other, thereby swinging past cable support points. Watch the video below the SkySweeper in action.




Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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CornGolem wrote at 4/18/2013 8:16:06 PM:

Great but it requires a man holding a banana on the other side.

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